Courtesy of Concordia Athletics
ST. PAUL, Minn.
- Concordia used a 421 yard advantage in total offense to mount a 56-7 win over Upper Iowa on Saturday afternoon at Sea Foam Stadium. The Golden Bears take sole possession of fourth place in the NSIC Standings, an excellent position to be in for Mineral Water Bowl hopes pending next Saturday's action. Junior quarterback Spencer Ohm (Blooming Prairie, Minn.) threw for a career high 326 yards and his fifth three-TD pass performance of the season. BOX SCORE
The Golden Bears won the coin toss and elected to receive, with Upper Iowa kicking off with a strong 15-20 mph wind at their backs. But the Peacocks surprised everyone by opening the game up with an onside kick, which was recovered by the Golden Bears just shy of midfield.
Concordia took advantage of the field position gift and took their time as they strolled 51 yards on 11 plays with the key moment a 4th and 1 conversion at the UIU 15 yard line with freshman Tre Spears (Chicago, Ill.) gaining 11 yards on the play. Spears would punch in a one yard touchdown two plays later to put the Golden Bears on top. Concordia drained nearly five minutes off the clock on their opening drive and finished the game with nearly 37 minutes of time of possession compared to just over 23 minutes for Upper Iowa.
The Peacocks offense started with the ball on their own 40 yard line as Concordia's kick was pushed out of bounds thanks to the strong winds. The Peacocks converted a 3rd and 8 and had the ball into CU's territory with a 1st and 10 at the CU 49. But junior linebacker Al Quaye (Champlin, Minn.) stopped UIU running back Sam Epsteen for a one yard loss and he was dropped for a four yard loss on the next play when QB Ben Curran was under pressure on a failed screen pass.
The Golden Bears forced a UIU punt, the first of eight punts in the game for UIU punter Gus Preuss. The big plays in the UIU backfield was a trend that also continued throughout the day.
Concordia's defense stifled Upper Iowa to just five first downs in the opening half and 62 yards of total offense. They were in on six sacks as a team, their season high as a defense to extend their league lead in the stat. They also recorded 14 tackles for loss and pushed UIU backwards for 63 total yards in the game. In the second half, Concordia recorded their second defensive touchdown of the season in as many weeks when senior linebacker Trevor Glomski (Wabasha, Minn.) sacked Curran to force a fumble inside the 10 yard line. The ball bounced around until Concordia junior safety Jake Vann (Plymouth, Minn.) recovered it in the end zone.
In the end, Concordia held Upper Iowa to just 136 yards of total offense. The run defense was superb, holding UIU to just 37 yards on 35 attempts while the secondary held them to just 99 yards passing on 8-23 completions.
Offensively, Ohm and the Golden Bears were in sync all day, rushing for 177 yards on 45 attempts while passing for a team season high 380 yards.
On the ground, junior Sam Campbell (Cary, Ill.) led the team with 95 rushing yards on 19 attempts with a pair of ground scores. He also had 28 receiving yards on three receptions for 123 all-purpose yards.
Ohm finished the day completing 21-28 for 326 and three touchdowns and was intercepted once. Ohm's interception snaps an impressive streak of 56 consecutive possessions without committing a turnover. It was just the sixth interception of the season for Ohm, who now boasts 21 passing touchdowns on the season. And it was Concordia's ninth turnover of the year, another impressive number.
Ohm was relieved early in the fourth quarter by redshirt freshman James Peterson (Blaine, Minn.) who had already played a handful of snaps. Peterson finished the day 5-6 passing for 54 yards while rushing 11 times for 67 yards and a team-high 6.1 yards per carry.
Junior Charles Gilbert (Jacksonville, Fla.) was the main benefactor of Concordia's 380 passing yards as he had four receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Gilbert added 61 and 47 yard touchdown receptions to his impressive 2010 resume, which now includes 10 receiving scores and 11 touchdowns overall. All of his scores have been at least 47 yards, and his TD's today were on back-to-back possessions early in the second quarter as CU scored on each of their first four possessions of the game.
Four different players caught four passes for Concordia, with nine different targets catching at least one pass.
The offense racked up 557 yards of total offense on the day, a season high, and they converted 8-14 on third down and 4-5 on fourth down.
Epsteen led Upper Iowa with 57 rushing yards on 17 carries while John Baldwin led their receivers with two catches for 47 yards. UIU scored their lone touchdown with 9:24 remaining in the third quarter on an 11-play, 80-yard drive lasting just over four and a half minutes.
Glomski led Concordia's defense with eight tackles and a pair of sacks and the forced fumble that led to the CU defensive touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Nathan Maher (Rockford, Minn.) added six tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks and sophomore defensive end Zach Moore (Chicago, Ill.) also had 2.5 TFL's and 1.5 sacks.
A lot will be on the line next Saturday in Marshall, Minn. as the Golden Bears are potentially playing for an invitation to the Mineral Water Bowl. A win for Concordia and the three teams ahead of them and they are in excellent position for the bid. A loss, however, and they'll need some additional help. Kickoff next Saturday is set for 1:00 p.m.